The LivePlan Dashboard offers a great way to monitor the health of your business over time, because you're comparing two important timelines:
- Your forecast: How you budget for your income and spending in the future
- Your actuals: Your company's actual performance in the past and present
This article covers using the Dashboard as your starting point in LivePlan. If you have already built a business plan forecast in the app, please see Setting up the Dashboard after you've created a forecast.
Connecting to your accounting solution
- Create a company in LivePlan. Set its forecast start date to the start of your current fiscal year.
- Select Up and running with accounting software from the Business stage drop-down menu:
- When the company and forecast have been selected, click Create Company:
- Watch the video if you like, and then click the Get Started button:
- You'll then be prompted to sync LivePlan with your accounting solution. You can sync with QuickBooks Online or with Xero. When you do, your actuals will populate the Dashboard section of LivePlan, and the app will automatically build a starting forecast as well:
Note: if you aren't using one of these accounting solutions, then you can enter your actuals manually instead. This option will populate the Dashboard with your actuals, but won't build an automated forecast. You'll still be able to create your own forecast manually in the Forecast section.
Viewing your actuals in the Dashboard
After the sync with your accounting solution (or manual entry of your actuals), the Dashboard section of LivePlan will be populated with your accounting actuals. You'll be on the Overview page initially, and be able to see how the actuals for this month, quarter, or year compare to the previous period:
To change the date range of the view, use the date selector menus at the top of the window:
For more details on Dashboard metrics and how to view them, please see these articles:
- Using the Dashboard Overview
- Dashboard Trends: comparing your actuals to your forecast
- Metrics available on the LivePlan Dashboard
- Printing reports from the Dashboard
Viewing and updating your starting forecast
After you've synced LivePlan with QuickBooks or Xero, you'll see that the Forecast section now contains a starting forecast, which has been built automatically from your most recent actuals:
The starting forecast is meant to be just that - a starting point that you'll review, update, and make strategic. We don't recommend using the starting forecast as-is.
For more details, please see Adjusting the automatic starting forecast.
These additional resources might be useful as you work in the Forecast section:
- Preparing a forecast
- Printing your projected financial statements
- How to forecast sales, from Bplans.com
- Forecasting models: what you need to know, from Bplans.com
Where to go from here
Depending on how you're using LivePlan, at this point you might want to complete other sections of the software. Here are some things you can do from here: